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In November 2014, the FCA announced several changes, which should make things better for borrowers of payday loans. These changes came into effect from January 2015. Let's look at these changes in detail.
Before 2015 there was no cap on payday loan interest, which allowed providers to charge huge amounts of interest. Starting January 2015, payday loan providers cannot charge interest of more than 0.8% interest per day. This means that if someone is taking a £100 loan for 30 days, the lender cannot charge an interest of more than £24. This is likely to affect several leading payday loan providers.
For example, for a £100 loan for one month, QuickQuid charges £29. Another provider of payday loans, charges £29.5 to some of its customers.
People who fail to repay their payday loans on time can end up paying much more than the original loan amount. High interest and default fees* can sometimes cost twice the original amount to the borrower. With the new rules, no borrower will have to pay more than double the amount borrowed under any circumstances. So, if someone takes a payday loan of £100, they will never have to pay more than £200, including interest and other fees.
* A fee or combination of charges that are assessed on a borrower in the event the borrower misses a stated number of payments during a lease period. The charges can include remaining payments, repossession costs and collection costs.
Default charges will be capped at £15. At present several lenders charge default fees above £20. Wonga, who no longer trade, used to charge default fees of £35, which is an example of where the caps will help the borrowers.
To truly tackle the cost of payday loans there needs to be more competition in the payday loan industry. The government needs to put pressure on traditional lenders to introduce responsible short-term micro-loans.
As well as capping the cost of credit, the government needs to address the issues of affordability checks, rollovers, use of continuous payment authorities, support for debt advice and regulation of advertising.
There could be, with people forced to take unregulated alternatives as lenders pulled out of the market.
Research has warned that a cap could result in less transparent pricing structures, making it more difficult for consumers to compare products and lenders based on prices, and lenders taking a harder line on debt collection.
These changes should make things easy for genuine borrowers of payday loans, who are presently dealing with very high fees and illegal debt collection practices. Also for those who are struggling to repay, these rules should put a limit on the ever-increasing debts.
The rules also mean that fewer people will now have access to payday loans. Because these changes are expected to impact the profitability of payday loan providers, lenders will now have less incentive to award loans to seemingly risky individuals. As per the FCA, the new price caps are expected to make payday loans inaccessible for nearly 70,000 people. Moreover, for another 210,000 people, the cap would mean a fewer amount of loans available than at present.
While a lot of issues have been tackled in the payday market and consumers are better protected as a result, other forms of high-cost credit, which can be just as damaging, remain untouched.
The following payday loan calculators and payday loan guides are popular with mobile users.